school choice

Rachel Morello

It’s “back to school” time across Milwaukee.

For about 100 students on the near south side, this fall marks a brand-new experience – not only for them, but for their school, Stellar Collegiate.

It’s the brainchild of a local educator, and many parents are putting their faith in her program that, this time last year, they knew nothing about.

Rachel Morello

A number of people in Milwaukee are creating schools. It’s possible, in part, because of the community’s thriving charter and voucher school programs, which provide public funding.

Michelle Maternowski

The Milwaukee Public Schools system has been shrinking in terms of enrollment. Now, it could lose more buildings, too.

When a school closes, it goes on a list of vacant, or “surplus” properties.

Friday, the Common Council approved five interested entities who can buy those buildings. Not on the list: MPS.

Mitzi Keel, Schools That Can Milwaukee

School choice is an extremely divisive issue in Milwaukee, and across the state.

Public and private education advocates are passionate about their respective sectors – and their students, yet not always about each other.

But with Valentine’s Day on the horizon, educators from public, charter and voucher schools decided to embrace the spirit of the holiday this week.

They tucked politics away for one night to show each other some "cross-sector love." 

Sean Hackbarth, flickr

Milwaukee boasts the largest school voucher program in the country. More than 25,000 students here are participating. Wisconsin also runs its own statewide program, along with another in Racine.

Choice programs give interested families public education dollars, or vouchers, to send their kids to private schools.

Educators across the country are celebrating school choice week.

BART EVERSON, FLICKR

This week, educators across the country will celebrate school choice week. Milwaukee is home to the oldest and largest school choice, or voucher program, in the nation. This year, 27,000 Milwaukee students are using state-funded vouchers to attend private schools; most are religious and many, Catholic.

The school landscape has changed dramatically in Milwaukee, starting after religious schools were folded into the choice program in 1998.

Bart Everson, flickr

Proponents of parental school choice programs in the state will mark 25 years of school choice this evening. A coalition of groups is organizing the event featuring a number of speakers from throughout the movement’s history.

It comes as debate over the future of education in Wisconsin remains heated, and as the leading choice advocacy group holds its annual conference beginning Thursday in Waukesha. Lake Effect's Mitch Teich talks with Jim Bender, president of School Choice Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s voucher schools have until June 30 to voluntarily provide data about students with disabilities to the state.

Approximately 73-percent of students taking part in Wisconsin's school Choice or voucher program, already attended a private school last year.

People testified for hours Thursday, on what taxpayers should expect from the private schools getting public money for Choice or voucher students.

Next week, the Dept. of Public Instruction will pick via a lottery which 500 students get a voucher. Most already attend a religious school.

Some critics of school choice argue the schools in the program are not measured for quality.

Private schools in Green Bay top the list - with six applying.  Sheboygan is next, with four schools filing the necessary paperwork.

Republican negotiators are considering a plan to expand Wisconsin's Choice or voucher program statewide, according to a report by the Associated Press.

A state Senate leader says talks designed to strike a compromise on Gov. Scott Walker's  private school choice expansion plan have reached an impasse.

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